Feminist criticism is concerned with "..ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women" (Tyson 83).
This school of theory looks at how aspects of our culture are inherently patriarchal (male dominated) and aims to expose misogyny in writing about women, which can take explicit and implicit forms.
'The Queen is most anxious to enlist every one who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of "Woman's Rights", with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and propriety...
It is a subject which makes the Queen so furious that she cannot contain herself.
Most developments in public sanitation and medical practice were gender-neutral in their theoretical bases and actual effects.
Ideas relating to reproductive health were the obvious exception, generally both 'read back' into gendered theories of individual health, and also deployed in prescriptive notions of sexuality and sexual behaviour.
In private life women were subject to fathers, husbands, brothers even adult sons.
Publicly, men dominated all decision-making in political, legal and economic affairs.
Hospital-based medicine catered largely for the poor, many of whom ended their days in the local workhouse infirmary; middle- and upper-class patients were attended in their own homes.
In mental health, patients were steadily concentrated in large, highly regulated lunatic asylums outside the urban areas.